Sunny Outside Cafe Salad (a/k/a Quinoa Mediterranean Salad)

On Thursday evening I stopped by my grocery store to pick up a few things that I need for the next week.   My Fairway has a great olive section with barrells full of different types-castelvetrano (I’ve visited there!!) , kalamata, pitted, unpitted etc.. but they also have sundried tomatoes, marinated artichokes and mushrooms. The list goes on and on. You get your own container and fill up on what you want.  Since they’re all the same price you can mix and match whatever you want in the same container.  I knew I was going to pick up some more quinoa and I felt like having a nice salad for dinner.  A mediterranean salad came to mind.  Sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta and oh yes! I have about 2 cups of baby spinach in the fridge at home (I was supposed to use it earlier in the week but didn’t so I’ll be glad to use it up!!).

This turned out to be a delicious  briny, bright, super tasty concoction of many of my favorite flavors.  In my mind I was back sitting at this cafe in Siragusa, Sicily, where Husband and I visited in October 2010. Is this not the cutest place ever?

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I had a huge bowl of it for dinner and I had a large bit left over for lunch the next day.  I did not put the dressing on the left-overs but kept it in a small container until I was ready to eat.

I put some of my favorite ingredients in but if you don’t like kalamata take them out and put in black olives.  Play around with it! Perhaps different cheese (queso fresco would work) or adding artichokes or peppers. The amounts below are really just estimates. I didn’t measure as I was going.  I also made a basic viniagrette which worked really well with the other ingredients. Enjoy!!

salad

Quinoa Mediterranean Salad

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked as per package instructions, and cooled (yield about 2 cups). I like to use chicken stock instead of water.
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped small
  • 1/3-1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped small
  • 4 cups baby spinach, stems removed, washed and chopped small
  • 1 peperoncini pepper, chopped small
  • 3ozs feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2-1 clove garlic, minced fine
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning (or combo of oregano, basil etc..)
  • 1 tsp honey (if needed)

**Note: If you’re omitting the cheese you don’t have to cool the quinoa in the ingredients list above. I cooled it because I didn’t want it to heat the feta. Feel free to eat it warm with everything else**

Instructions (really it can’t be any easier? I feel like I’m insulting you by even writing these):

  1. For the salad: add all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine.
  2. For the dressing: combine all ingredients in a small bowl, whisk well to combine. (I generally use a measuring cup and give it a few long whizzes with my immersion blender.) Taste. Add honey if needed. Whizz again.
  3. Pour dressing over the portion of the salad that you intend to eat right away.  Set the rest aside.
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